What Goes Into Choosing The Right Toothbrush?

By Dr. Christopher Li, DDS

December 9, 2022

brushing, choosing the right toothbrush, dental care, oral care

When it comes to choosing the right toothbrush, there’s quite a bit of important information you should know. Most people have their preferences and generally stick to the same type of toothbrush for years at a time, but how do you know if the one you use is right for you?

At Li Family Dental, we regularly advise patients about which type of toothbrush is best to meet their needs because what’s right for one person may not be right for another. The right toothbrush is a valuable tool when it comes to maintaining your oral health and preventing serious issues from developing. Of course, choosing the right toothbrush involves more than just selecting the type of brush, and here we explain everything you need to know.

Which Bristles To Choose

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When you are choosing the right toothbrush, you’ll find that there are three basic types of bristles that are available in stores. Here’s some information that you can use when deciding which bristle toothbrush is best:

Soft bristles – Most dentists recommend using soft-bristled toothbrushes over the other types. When the bristles are softer, there is less chance of damaging tooth enamel, and you can comfortably clean your gumline without causing bleeding or discomfort. Soft-bristled brushes are also strong enough to dislodge any food stuck in your teeth, so there’s no issue getting a full cleaning each time you brush.

Medium bristles – A medium toothbrush is similar to a soft toothbrush, but medium bristles are stiff enough to cause damage to your enamel, so they aren’t usually recommended by dentists. It can also be challenging to clean your gumline effectively with medium toothbrushes because they’re a little too abrasive for your sensitive gums and might cause damage.

Hard bristles – Hard-bristled toothbrushes should usually be avoided unless your dentist has specifically told you to use them. As the name suggests, hard-bristled toothbrushes have stiff bristles that can wear away at your tooth enamel with regular brushing, as well as damage your gum tissue if you try to clean the gum line. If you need to use a hard-bristled toothbrush for some reason, take special care to brush gently.

Using The Proper Technique

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Choosing the right toothbrush is good, but you still won’t get the best effect if you use improper technique. Any tool is only as good as the technique you use, and for the best preventative care you need to brush properly. You’ll want to hold your toothbrush with a normal grip at a 45-degree angle to your gum line. Use short back and forth strokes about the width of your tooth, and make sure to brush every part of the tooth, including the inner surface, outer surface, and chewing surface. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your dentist or your dental hygienist the next time you visit.

Is It Time For A New Toothbrush?

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Even after choosing the right toothbrush, the best toothbrush won’t last forever, and it’s important to change things up on a regular basis. Most dentists recommend breaking out a new toothbrush every three to four months to ensure you get the best possible coverage and cleaning capacity. Of course, this is just a guide; if you notice your bristles are becoming frayed or damaged before that three-month timeline, then don’t hesitate to toss it away and start using a new one.

How vigorously you brush your teeth is a crucial factor in how long your toothbrush is going to last, and if you find your bristles look frayed after one or two months, you may want to consider easing up on the pressure and brushing more gently.

Taking Care Of Your Toothbrush

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Since a toothbrush is in contact with water more than once a day, there’s always the chance of it attracting bacteria, especially if you store it in a closed container while it is still moist. The best thing to do is rinse your toothbrush well under clean water to remove any lingering debris and then store it upright in a container or glass until you need to use it again. This way, it will air dry and avoid microbial growth and bacteria you don’t want on your brush. If you tend to travel a lot, you may want to consider using disposable toothbrushes.

Should You Try An Electric Toothbrush?

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Many people gravitate toward an electric toothbrush for the convenience of not having to brush their teeth manually, but there are other benefits of using electric toothbrushes too. In one study that looked at electric toothbrushes for 11 years, it was determined that electric brushes with heads that rotate in both directions were very effective at removing plaque. According to the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, there is also a 20% reduction in gum recession and an 18% reduction in tooth decay among electric toothbrush users.

You will end up paying more for an electric toothbrush, but if the goal is to have the cleanest teeth possible and avoid any unpleasant dental issues, then think of it more as an investment in your oral health than an expense. And even though the toothbrush is doing most of the work for you, it’s still important to brush at least twice a day for two minutes to maintain optimum oral health.

Don’t Forget These Extras

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For a well-rounded and complete dental care routine, besides choosing the right toothbrush it’s important to include things like regular flossing, eating a healthy diet, and visiting your dentist regularly. A great toothbrush still can’t get in between your teeth, like dental floss, and if you spend your days drinking sugary beverages and eating sugary snacks without flossing, your toothbrushing efforts may go to waste. Regular dental checkups and cleanings help to make sure you’re on the right track and to prevent any smaller issues from becoming bigger problems.

If you’d like to learn more about choosing the right toothbrush, or you have any other questions about your oral health, you can get in touch with us, and we will be happy to give you all the information you need.

Give us a call at 416-232-2033 or request an appointment by clicking here.

Dr. Christopher Li, DDS

About the author

Dr. Christopher Li; Dr. Chris, as he is affectionately known, is a licensed dentist with over 20 years of experience. His caring personality makes even the most tentative person at ease. Patients are constantly commenting about how Dr. Chris is incredible at delivering pain-free freezing, and how he has an amazing chair-side manner.

Dr. Chris and his team have built an exceptional dental clinic serving The Queensway, Etobicoke, Toronto and surrounding areas.

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